From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

Hive, Micah

11 January 2014

WARNING: Discussions of non-consensual physical contact and other unpleasant things. Then Micah tries to give Hive a haircut, so that's fun, at least...


<NYC> 303 {Lighthaus} - Village Lofts - East Village

This apartment is cheerful, in its way -- bright and airy, its floor plan open and a plethora of windows providing it with an abundance of light. The tiny entrance hall opens into a living room, small, though its sparse furniture and lack of clutter give it a more open feel. The decor is subdued and minimalist; black and white is the dominant theme, with occasional splashes of deep crimson to offset the monochrome, though of late myriad bright-coloured dragonflies swarm across the living room wall. The couch and armchair are upholstered in black corduroy, the low wide coffee table central is black wood and glass-topped, and a few large pillowy beanbags provide additional seating by the large windows that dominate the back wall. The living room and kitchen both hold a rather inordinate number of lamps in addition to the ceiling lights; standing lamps, small lamps on each counter, large sunlights in the corner. More often than not, they're largely all turned on, too.

Towards the back, a couple of doors lead off into bedrooms and bathroom, and to the right, the kitchen's tile is separated from the living room's dark hardwood floors by black countertops. Above the bedroom to one side, there is higher space; a ladder climbs up to a lofted area looking down on the living room. Standing in front of the partition between living and cooking area is a large fish tank: one lone Betta, blood-red, swims regally among several species of black and silver fish. A hallway beyond the kitchen leads further into the apartment. Another bathroom stands just into the hall and the farthest door leads to the apartment's final bedroom, the door usually kept shut to hold in the acrid fumes of turpentine and paints from within.

It is after noon! Which means Hive has grudgingly been awake for a little bit already, although not much has been /seen/ of him as yet. Mostly just a sleepy-eyed trudge from bedroom to bathroom, a slightly-less-sleepy-eyed walk back after taking a shower. He's emerging from the bedroom again now, laptop under his lap and his long hair still a little bit damp where it hangs down around his shoulders. He's in jeans, a black and grey plaid flannel button-down worn open over his 404 Link Not Found t-shirt, thick black socks. A dark red sweatshirt over that with the Greek letters Theta Tau written on the chest in gold. He heads towards the kitchen, setting his laptop down on the table first; for a moment his eyes shift towards the twins' room, narrowing slightly, before turning to more important priorities: coffee.

As it is afternoon, the rest of the apartment has already come and gone from breakfast. Hive's trudge to the bedroom served as adequate warning to set a new pot of coffee on and to set up the pan to cook the last of the pancake batter that had been covered and set aside in the fridge for this purpose. A small pan is also working to reheat apple slices in a syrup of cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and maple. Micah has just flipped the last pancake in the pan when Hive emerges. He pours some of the ready-waiting coffee into the mug that was also ready-waiting by the pot before returning to prod the apples with a stirring spoon. His dress for a Saturday is somewhat more formal than usual: typical socks with multicoloured owls on them, jeans with patches on the knees, but then topped with his long-sleeved green and blue plaid button-down buttoned snugly to the very top button with its collar standing up appropriately. His auburn hair is still spiky from air drying after his own morning shower. "Mornin', hon," he greets Hive softly, sliding the coffee mug a little closer on the counter. "Last pancake should be up in a few seconds, then I'll pass y'the stack, 'kay?"

"Jegus." Hive sounds grumbly (cranky muttering is /like/ 'thanks', right?), but this doesn't stop him from taking the coffee and thunking himself down into a chair at the kitchen table. "You don't need to -- Feel like I'm in a -- fucking hotel -- what are you all dressed up for?" His eyes narrow on the button-down. "S'there /work/ today oh fuck what day are we on." His fingers lift to brush into his damp hair. "... need to get a haircut," he mutters half to himself.

"You're welcome," Micah returns with a small, amused smile coupled with an almost-laugh. "I ain't doin' nothin' I don't usually do. You're gettin' fed leftovers from breakfast. Ain't no trouble." He turns the heat off under both burners of the stove, sliding the last pancake onto the stack of three on the plate. He delivers this along with flatware to the table before returning to fetch the apples and a potholder to place these alongside for Hive to dish out to taste. "Y'need juice or milk or anything?" Micah chews his lower lip a little at the question. "No formal work but I do gotta go out t'the van t'catch up on the manufacturin' parts of m'job. S'posed t'take off t'morrow an' have a...pajama an' TV day with the twins. Don't know if they still want to, though." He tugs at one of his shirt cuffs. "Not dressed up for anythin', really."

Hive exhales a quick sharp breath, closing his eyes briefly at that first near-laugh. "Don't -- hear a lot of laughing around here lately." He opens his eyes again to spoon out a generous dose of apples over his pancakes, spearing an apple to eat it plain, first. "Dressing up just to get messy building shit?" He turns his chair sideways, folding a leg beneath himself. His eyes shift from Micah to the twins' door, and back. "B probably does." He shakes his head at the offer of Other Drinks. "Just caffeine. I'm good."

Micah sighs at that observation. “I know.” He wanders over to pour himself a cup of coffee, adding almond milk and sugar. He cradles it in his hand and moves back to the table, but doesn't sit. “Wearing the collar up 'cause I let someone bite me...a' the bruises make people ask questions an' I didn' that,” he finally gives in and answers, blushing fiercely. “Yeah, should prob'ly still, with Spence an' maybe B. Shane...seems like he doesn't wanna be anywhere near me anymore an' I don't know how t'make that any better.” His gaze drops down to inspect his coffee for a moment, but he forces himself to look back up at Hive. “There...may be a lotta that goin' 'round lately. Hive...hon, does it bother you bein' 'round me now? I kinda...feel like maybe y'shouldn't have t'me or see me or... If you need more space, can y'please just tell me an' I'll do whatever you ask? 'Cause somehow the further I get from it the worse it...seems'...I don't know what y'feel about it. But /I/ feel like y'shouldn't have t'deal with me.”

Hive slides out a foot, pushing at the leg of a chair to kick it further out from the table in unspoken invitation when Micah does not sit. "Ah." His smile twitches a little bit wider at this explanation of the collar, and he lets /that/ matter drop with only a: "... good." He picks up his mug, lifting it but -- stopping with a very cautious dip of his tongue into the liquid, pulling it back quickly and setting the mug down to let it cool further. "Shane --" he starts, and then stops again, disgruntled. "Fff. Is hurting. You should talk to him. Think he wants to be near you too damn much."

His brows lift at the rest of Micah's words, though. His eyes meet the other man's, narrowing faintly in confusion. "What the fuck are you on about?"

Micah's eyes linger on the chair for a moment before he finally sits in it. His cheeks redden deeper at Hive's pronouncement. "I tried t'talk to 'im last night an' I think I just made it worse. He kept clammin' up on me. An' any time I...didn't even have t'touch 'im. Just...stood near 'im. Sat near 'im. An' he cringed away every time. I think I got to 'im /too/ much with the...tryin' t'teach 'im about what's inappropriate touchin'? An' now he won't be /near/ me." Though at that particular sentiment Micah is now the one cringing at what feels like a cruel irony.

The coffee cup slowly spins in place on the table under Micah's fidgeting hands. "After what I did t'you. Anyone else goin' through that I'd be...sendin' 'em to a counsellor. Askin' if they wanted t'/report/ somebody. Certainly not tellin' 'em that they had t'see that person again every day an' eat with 'em an' talk to 'em an' just..." He finally has to look away, down at his mug. "I want t'check that you're okay but at the same time I feel like I shouldn't keep forcin' you t'be near me all the time 'cause that isn't fair of me to do."

"Wellp." Hive's jaw tightens. "He's not trying to fuck you anymore. So there's that." Though his voice is rather flat and doesn't make this sound much like a /victory/. He slices off a piece of pancake, swiping it through some of the apples' syrup but not yet eating it. His eyes drop down to his plate at the rest of the explanation. He exhales a slow hiss through his teeth, head just /shaking/ at all of this, a blank-numb denial that continues a moment after Micah has finished. "Dude, you didn't -- none of that was /your/ fault, you couldn't have /possibly/ -- /I/ fucked up, okay? It's not on you to make sure everyone /else/ keeps their -- shit in check."

“I'd honestly rather he /was/ still tryin' to than.../this/. It's not like he ever actually /did/ anythin' s'long as I told 'im t'stop. He's hurtin' somethin' awful an' all I wanna do is hold 'im an' try t'make the hurtin' less, but instead... He looks at me an' won't come near me an' seems /more/ hurt whenever I'm around. How d'you help /that/? Should I just stay away from 'im? I know that's not /actually/ what he wants, but it's what he's...actin' like.”

Micah finally stops spinning the cup, lifting it to sip from instead. “But that doesn't /matter/. It doesn't matter why it happened, just that it /did/. Okay...I mean, it does /matter/ that I wouldn't...I wouldn't ever have...done that on purpose. If I'd even remotely known that your ability worked that way once y'take somebody's mind. That what y'said an' what y'felt at me weren't /real/, weren't from /you/, so it didn't /matter/ how many times I asked if it was okay. That only matters for not needin' t'lock me up an' keep me away from people in general. But what /happened/ was still that...I was with you in a way that you /didn't want/. Just because I didn't mean to an' there was a bunch of confusin' mind control whatsits that didn't nobody /mean/ in the middle of it don't mean that didn't happen t'you. I you...feel like you were...assaulted?” His shoulders curl in, making him look smaller as he asks this. “That's...I mean. If y'felt that. It would make /sense/ t'feel that way. An' then...I could see where...just seein' me would hurt. Or make y'sick. Or angry. Or...mostly not-good things.”

"It's -- not what he wants." Hive scrunches up his eyes, exhaling sharp, but doesn't offer anything further just now on the subject of Shane. He runs his fingers through his hair, pressing down along the side of his head. He swipes his pancake now in circles in the syrup, watching the pattern it traces there.

"Micah, this whole thing was just. Fucked up as hell and I should've --" His fingers clench around his fork, tighter. "I should've told you. That that happened. Except /I/ didn't expect it, you're the first person I'd taken since -- everything got fucked up and it's not usually /like/ that. Or -- I mean. It /is/ usually like that except it's usually /my/ feelings that take /you/ over. And I wasn't /expecting/ to have sex, I /never/ have sex with people I'm connected to /because/ if I want them they can't /help/ but want it too. But I wasn't -- even /thinking/ about sex so I didn't. Think /that/ would be a fucking problem, I. I had -- no idea it would. Be the other way around now."

He just swallows, hard, at the final question. His eyes close again, fork set down at the side of his plate. His mouth opens, and closes again, his head shaking once, though less with the feel of an answer and more just as though he is trying to clear it.

"I know, honey. I didn't...expect it, either. That was kinda the /opposite/ of what I expected." Micah starts toying with his mug again. "I mean I went t'talk t'you in the first place to /apologise/ for respondin' a little too...enthusiastically when y'kissed me an' all the way y'did the day /before/. But then y'were talkin' about wantin' people an' wantin' t'be /close/ t'people an'...then what I /felt/ from you was that same...need. T'make each other's pain go away for awhile an' just be...close. I didn't know that I was hearin' my own thoughts in your head. Especially when I...when I asked an' it wasn't just that you /said/ yes. You thought' /felt/ it an' I could hear the thoughts an' feel... An' y'/responded/ t'me. An'...oh/gosh/ the worst of it was that I thought I was helpin'. I was helpin' us /both/ not hurt so much. But I wasn't. I was makin' everythin' worse again, wasn't I?"

Micah bites down hard on his lip when Hive doesn't answer the question. "So that's what...I've been afraid. You were feelin' that. An' didn't know what t'do about it. Because maybe y'need t'talk t'someone about it, but I don't know who. An' almost certainly y'don't want it t'be me. An' I don't know if seein' me reminds you of it an' makes it worse. Or talkin' t'me. Or... I mean, I don't know if it's okay for me t'be in the same room with you, much less...hug you or hold you the way we used to, y'know? I need you t'tell me...what you feel an' what y'need. An' I'll /do/ it, whatever it is. Okay? I'm just so--" << --sorry. For all of it. >>

"I -- /do/. Want. To -- be close to --" Hive clenches his teeth, hand dropping to his lap to squeeze in fingers tightly against his knee. "I just get so much more used to doing that here," he lifts his other hand to tap a finger against his temple, "than -- more. Normal ways." He opens his eyes to look over at Micah, a tired slump to his shoulders. "No. I don't -- feel any of that, I. It's just fucking -- confusing, you know? I don't -- really know how to fucking. Even think about -- It's not really a normal situation to feel violated but /not/ feel like any/one/ violated me. I /don't/ feel uncomfortable around you. I'd trust you with my fucking life, Micah, and I /know/ you'd never do anything deliberately to hurt -- a gorram one of us. My head's just kind of a fucking mess but that's not on you to deal with."

“I know. I know...I just. It's dangerous for y'to do too much with that,” Micah taps his fingers to his temple, “until we can get you /better/ again. I asked--” he finally thinks better of having this entire discussion aloud in a bugged apartment and moves back to thinking, << --Lucien t'help you. Maybe with the two of you workin' t'gether on it, it'll help. An' if we can just get things /settled down/ long enough t'stop overextendin' you again an' again, maybe we can get y'back to...bein' able t'be more like what y'were. This is /all/ so unfair t'you. >> He has to look away again, staring down into his coffee when Hive finally does confirm feeling violated. << Honey, I'm just /so/ sorry. I don't care...what my part in it was, I still /had/ a part an' that makes me at least partially responsible. /No one/ should ever have t'feel that. Would it help you t'try an' talk to a counsellor at Mendel? It's...I mean, they /have/ to've had some really strange power-related situations t'help people with. >>

Hive's mention of trust finally gets Micah to look back up, though it's with too much shininess to his eyes. << You do? I mean... That's...could y'still just be very, very clear with me? Lay out really strict guidelines of what's okay with you, make sure y'tell me the second somethin' isn't? 'Cause I don't want t'do anythin' t'ever make you...uncomfortable or t'hurt you ever. An'...Lucien helped me understand that was the real problem. I mean, I /do/ just feel stupid-useless-guilty over all of this, but that...I can figure out how t'swallow an' move past. What I'm havin' trouble with is that I don't trust /m'self/ anymore. Because I /have/ been hurtin'...pretty much everyone. Even though all I /wanted/ was t'help an' make things better. But...I killed a man. An' I deceived the person I love most in the world an' just betrayed his trust so badly in order t'do it. An' not a week later I turned around an'...hurt you this way. An' I /love/ you, too. An' I was just tryin' t'help /again/. But I don't know how t'trust m'self anymore. Just a few weeks ago I knew I was a good person. Maybe not perfect, but at least.../decent/ as a human being, y'know? An' a few weeks' time I went from a decent person to a liar an' a murderer an' a rapist an' I don't to /trust/ that person. It's like I took every last thing I know is just /unequivocally/ wrong an' /did it/ in a matter of weeks. An' hurt so many people I love all in the name of /helpin'/. How can you possibly trust that person, Hive? >>

<< Don't really do counsellors, >> Hive answers with an unhappy twist of lips. << I'll be fine. Just need to get my -- head back on straight. Maybe Lucien'll help, yeah. >> He leaves his pancakes untouched, picking his coffee back up for another swallow. << Uh -- >> The question of guidelines furrows his brow. << Just -- don't do anything you'd tell Shane not to do, >> he finally answers, wryly. << I still like hugs. >>

As is evidenced, maybe, when he scrapes his chair closer, reaching out for Micah's hand to /tug/ the other man closer at the second half of -- everything. << Every single fucking thing you did you've done out of love. And that doesn't mean it's always the /right/ choices but it does mean that I'm pretty damn confident you're not going to be doing shit /to/ try and hurt anyone. Which -- doesn't mean you're not worth trusting just that maybe need a better -- decision-making algorithm. >> One side of his mouth twitches upwards, only quick and small before settling back down. << But God fucking knows we /all/ do sometimes so. >> He shrugs a shoulder, quickly.

<< I just...hate t'think of you havin' t'go through somethin' so...hard an' so confusin' /alone/ is all. But of course, it's your choice. >> Micah gives his coffee a long look before sipping from it again. Hive's instruction earns a nod and a burning red blush. << Yes...of course. I mean, I know...I shouldn't do none of that, I just didn't know if anythin' /else/ was okay, like... Yeah, hugs. >> At the tug, Micah does lean in for a hug. It's a little hesitant at first, still. << I know. I know. I just don't...know how I could've done it better. I /still/ don't know... I can't just sit by and do nothin' when things are so horrible, but it seems like everythin' I touch lately is just gettin' worse. If I could figure out exactly where I kept screwin' it all up an' /change/ it, I'd do it in a heartbeat. In the meantime. I'm just bein'...kinda flaily an' askin' permission for every little thing an' tryin' not t'/do/ too much so I can't hurt anythin'. But then there's still issues like... >> He tilts his head toward the twins' door. << I want t'help 'em. 'Specially Shane, but. I feel like I'll just hurt 'em an' I can't...can'tcan'tcan't... Not /them/. >>

Hive wraps his arms tight around Micah, head pressing down against the other man's hair. He doesn't answer, initially, just presses his face against Micah's hair and breathes in slow and deep. << That's the other reason, >> he finally answers. << That I trust you. Because most of this fucking up? Isn't even you actually /fucking up/. This whole fucking situation is a giant pile of /shit/. If that's all you have to cook with of /course/ you're going to end up eating shit pie. >> His breath trembles, a little bit. << And you don't. Make everything worse that you touch. >> Though his attention is straying towards the twins' door, too. << ... I don't even know where to start with that, >> he admits. << They love you. And /need/ you. They're just -- also a pile of mess and /that/ pre-dated you being here. >>

Micah finally completely gives in to the hug when Hive leans against him. << Well, that's...colourful, thanks. >> He holds Hive tighter, a wry little grin visiting his features. << Everyone's kind of a mess. An' most of it started long before me. Doesn't make me wanna fix it any /less/. I'll...wait until sometime later when...they're not... >> Another little blush dusts over the bridge of his nose. << When they've /chosen/ t'come out an' talk. I just hope Shane don't shut 'imself off from ev'rybody the way it seems like he's doin'. I feel like...B already set into not bein' /himself/ anymore even before all this an'... At least they always have each other, even if they don't let anyone else in. >> Though even this last comes with a feeling of uncertainty as he watches the closed door.

Hive turns his head, cheek pressing to the top of Micah's hair, breathing rustling its spiky mess. Slow at first, and then with a sharper /huff/. << S'alright they're not /boning/ in there, >> comes with a brief correction: << ... okay, well, actually B is. Working on this freaky-ass looking tree sculpture. >> He drops his arms so that he can sit back in his chair, take another gulp of coffee. << Think that's kind of his plan, >> he admits unhappily, of Shane. << Think it's been B's plan a /long/-ass time. >> He grimaces at the final comment. << That's /good/ and all, but they're /both/ broken as hell. There's only so much you can do to save someone drowning when you're going under yourself. >>

Micah's eyes close contentedly with Hive's nuzzling and mussing his hair. << I just...never know anymore. I mean. I guess you've known. >> His cheeks colour deeper at this discussion. << I was afraid of that, >> he adds to Hive's confirmation. << An' I know...gosh, I know, I think /that's/ most of what I been doin' wrong since I even /started/ the whole thing...with Malthus. All these broken people 'round me an' not admittin' I'm just another one of 'em an' tryin' t'rescue ev'rybody. >> He settles back into his seat, starting up the spinning of his cup again. << At least now I'm aware, I guess. But on that...on that... Are you okay? You aren't still thinkin' of...? >> The image of the gun that had prompted so much of Micah's emotional reaction at Hive flashes briefly in his mind. << 'Cause I love you an' I'd hate t'think that this...that this made that worse. >>

<< I know most shit that goes on around here. >> Hive sounds kind of tired at this admission, tipping his head downward further to rest his forehead in a palm. << From when it started to when they /told/ you to how much they just want -- >> But here his words cut off, head shaking once. << I know every-goddamn-body's secrets. Gets kind of tiring keeping straight the things I'm not /supposed/ to know from the ones I am. >> His breath comes sharper, shorter, and he sets his mug back down with a clunk. << And I know who's broken and who's /breaking/ and most of the time I'm not even supposed to fucking acknowledge it. /That's/ the hard part, you know. It's always been the hard part. It's not /knowing/. It's pretending I don't. >> He picks his fork back up, returning to swirling his pancake in syrup. << Didn't make it worse. I just. I'm not -- /today/, I'm not. I can't really tell you how it'll be tomorrow. Kinda -- trying, though. >>

<< I'm sorry, >> Micah replies with a slight thinning of his lips, fully aware where he had contributed to Hive's knowing-too-much recently. << Okay. Not worse. But. Still bad. >> He drinks from his coffee, just quiet in his thoughts for a moment. << Can you come talk to me? Or call me...or...text or...whatever? Before you ever open that drawer again? Please? >>

<< Still bad, >> Hive acknowledges, slowly. << But I think -- a little better. For finally fucking /admitting/. How bad it is. I've been as bad as anyone before all this with just -- not fucking /admitting/ when I need goddamn help. But it's really fucking clear I do. And even just /saying/ that isn't easy but it's -- better. Than pretending. >> He takes in a slow breath, and nods with his eyes shut tight. << It gets bad sometimes. You might get a lot of texts. >> His smile is thin and crooked, not really /humored/. << But it's better, I think, to -- have other shit. To focus on. Haven't really been doing that, just sitting and letting it all /fester/, that doesn't help shit. >>

<< It's hard. When you know everyone else is broken, too. T'put any of your broken on 'em. But when broken's what y'got...we just all gotta let each other help. An' maybe we can't help our /own/ broken, but we might be able t'help someone else's. >> Micah sets his cup down, just searching Hive's face with his eyes. << I don't care. Any amount of pestery texts is gonna bother me a /lot/ less than you bein' gone. I love you, honey. >> He nods at the need to be busy. << You wanna help me start the real estate hunt back up in earnest? I been meetin' with some /other/ lawyers recommended by Sublime t'deal with the eviction thing. But we still wanna move no matter what happens. 'Specially after...all this. It don't feel right here no more. Don't feel safe...don't feel like home. You're pretty much the guy with the knowledge on the housing front. >>

Hive's face largely looks tired, too pale, too shadowed. He does, /finally/, start in on his pancakes, eating with a slow determination that suggests it's more out of the need to eat /something/ than out of real enjoyment. << Yeah. Yeah, that'd be good. I had a bunch of places that looked promising but nothing -- concrete, we need to /actually/ check shit out. S'a good amount of people interested. Luke Cage talked to Jax about getting involved kind of quietly. Helping set things up. We'll see. >>

His smile is a little wry. "Fuck. Yeah. The eviction thing. I need to get back on the ball with that, too. I didn't even give any fucks before but now I kind of want to -- buy some time. Give us more room to --" He looks wistful. "Wait till we have Jax back." He takes another small bite of pancake. "I actually have a client, did I tell you? So -- that's some fucking /cash/ coming in, at least. Which is good because this eviction fight will be a lot harder if I stop paying our rent."

Micah nods approval that Hive is eating, even if he doesn't seem to being relishing his meal any. << Quiet...yeah, it would need t'be if Luke's involved. Primarily 'cause everythin' he does becomes a media spectacle an' the last thing we need is t'be makin' our /home/ into that. Can't afford to build a fortress like the Clinic. Also...the boys still get real upset even by /seein'/ 'im. Don't know how comfortable they'd be with 'im tied up in their livin' situation. But, yeah...buyin' time for Jax an' Dusk an' Flicker t'get back /and/ t'put a place t'gether's /both/ good ideas. >> He gives a rueful look over the brim of his cup after his next drink. << Yeah, money's been...worse than usual. Bein' out of work from the plague, then slow t'get back, then Jax getting' arrested... An' all of these /legal fees/ between his defence an' gettin' Dusk an 'im taken care of an' the eviction. I mean, it's been less bad than it /could/ be. Io's been treatin' Jax like he's out with an injury as far as pay's concerned. An' the school's been donatin' some t'Jax's legal fund. But it's /not/ gonna be a good thing if I keep havin' more patients not want me t'see 'em 'cause they've seen me on the news. >>

Micah drums his fingers on the table for a moment. << Had a thought of a way I might be able t'be more helpful, though. I is /okay/ for me, 'specially if the Clinic keeps pickin' up where other folks are ditchin' me. An' the shop pays decently-well. But all this is likely t'delay Jax in school /again/, so. Somethin' B said the other day got me t'thinkin' I might be able t'pick up another side thing consultin' on more commercial products. For people with special needs. It's less my usual thing, but...could supplement better. >>

<< Think he just wants to help. No -- spectacle. >> Hive shrugs a shoulder, still slowly making his way through his pancakes, small bite by small bite. << Hah. The security that went into the clinic was fucking /insane/. Kinda fun, though, >> he admits. << As a challenge. Finding that line between tough and attractive. >> His head turns slightly, eyes tracking back over in the direction of Jax's bedroom door. He shakes his head quickly, locking his eyes back down on his food.

<< Can start finding suitable locations and brainstorming some things /we'll/ all want even if we have to wait a bit on their input too. -- Huh. The Clinic's still paying him? >> This brightens Hive's expression somewhat. << Good. They're good people. >>

"You could take up porn," Hive suggests to Micah. "It's a time honored tradition for being Broke As Fuck. Or hooking, have some friends I'm sure could give you a few tips." And absently slipping back into his stabbing-painful mindvoice as he fills his mouth with another bite of pancake, << Or that. Consulting on things like what? Like that project of B's? Stark can sure as hell offer to pay you, at least. >>

The significance of Hive's 'client' statement takes a good, long while to actually hit Micah in the thinking-bits of his brain. When it does he almost spits coffee back into his cup. << Wait. Wait. Is this your first client? For the new business? When did /that/ happen? Hive, that's /awesome/ news! What excitin' thing are y'gonna be buildin'? >> The glance that Hive gives to Jax's door in time with the 'tough and attractive' comment quirks his lips into an amused smile, though it soon turns more wistful. << But, yeah, we should look into what we can for now. I mean, I'm pretty sure we were gonna make you do most of the legwork on figurin' out the buildin' parts anyhow. We're nice like that, >> he teases as he lifts his mug for another attempt at drinking more successfully.

Alas, it is not meant to be. Micah coughs for a moment as Hive suggests porn and prostitution. << Oh...oh/gosh/, I really. Don' I get all flustery an'... >> His cheeks settle on a fine shade of cherry red to demonstrate at least /part/ of his point. << Just...oh/gosh/. >> The cup returns to the table so that he can hide his face in his hands. He peeks out again at the next question. << Things /like/ that. I mean, don't gotta be that specifically. But that's the kinda thing I could approach for offers. >>

"Some people are into that," Hive answers Micah seriously. "All blushing and innocent, I bet that'd be a selling point in a lot of cases." He washes down his mouthful of pancakes with a gulp of coffee. As he sets the mug down for a moment he smiles, brighter, warmer. "Yeah. Shit. My first real client since I started my place. Uh -- s'just an office building but it should be fun. A good solid project." He's not gushing, really, but there's a /definite/ pleased note to his smile, equal parts pride and /relief/. "I'm hoping it helps -- mmn. Things have been fucking weird after the Clinic, you know? That building is /solid/. It's been -- pretty uniformly praised in /design/ which is hilarious considering all the news about what it actually /is/ is hateful or conflicted. And I did it on my own it -- pulling off a project like that, should've /made/ my fucking career, you know? But. It's. The fucking Clinic. I am /never/ for a second going to /regret/ building it but people have been really /twitchy/ about getting involved with me when /that's/ what I'm known for." His head shakes in a small amount of disgust. "But hopefully getting a few totally non-controversial pieces under my belt will help smooth that over some."

<< Mmm. What's your consulting rate? /I'd/ totally bring you in on projects when, uh, I manage to have them. I mean, I know what all the legal /requirements/ are when I'm building but what's up to code isn't always the same thing as what's actually /preferable/. I think B'd be /happy/ if he could convince Stark to bring you in on some of his shit, though. I know teenagers are supposed to be all standoffish and embarrassed about their parents but I think they missed out on all that because they're just so fucking /thrilled/ to have you guys. >>

Micah's blush burns up into his neck and ears as Hive keeps painting that picture. "Oh/gosh/, hon, you're startin' t'make it sound like you're plannin' t'put me on some kinda /menu/ or somethin'." << An' I think I been pretty far an' away from 'innocent' for a long time. Just...blushy an' flustery. >> His cheeks colour even darker as he reaches for his mug again, sipping from it carefully. << Yeah, havin' unpopular associations don't do nothin' good for you in the business world, unfortunately. Hopefully people can get past it when y'have a few...other photos t'show, though. >> He shakes his head at the question of a consulting rate. << You ain't gotta pay me t'help you out, sugar. Ain't much point takin' money from one pocket to another when it's family. Just let me know if you ever need somethin'. >> An actual chuckle answers the thought of the twins being embarrassed by them. << Oh, at least with Shane, he don't even know what t'be embarrassed /by/. B don't really either, so he's just embarrassed of /everythin'/, poor kid. But...with us bein' pretty close to 'em in age an' not blood relatives, it's a lot less like the things other kids get embarrassed over, I think. Also...yeah. When all you've ever /wanted/ was a set of stable parents who love you an' a home t'go with 'em...y'get less twitchy about 'em showin' up in other parts of your life, I'd guess. >>

"Didn't I tell you? Architecture hasn't been panning out so I'm starting a new career running a brothel." Hive finishes almost half the pancakes, but then pushes the plate aside. He does pick up his mug, to down the rest of it quickly. << Shane never really learned embarrassment, before. I think B just took it all to make up for him. >> A small smile pulls at his mouth with the last comments. << Yeah. Pretty sure they kind of just want to /parade/ you around. Show the world how hard they won the dad lottery. >> He stands to pick up his cup, leaning in to Micah to kiss him on the forehead before he turns to go refill the mug with more coffee. "And they fucking /did/, too. The whole damn jackpot. Ggh. You handy with shears at all? I need to cut my fucking hair this is ridiculous."

"I'm gonna resist the horrible temptation t'ask who else you're recruitin' for that one," Micah answers with a giggle, still blushing rather profusely at the thought. << They been loanin' us out t'the other kids at school. least they /were/ when they still felt like they could go. >> His chuckle has a sad note to it, but Hive's kiss summons a smile. "Thanks, honey, you're sweet. Um...I've done Spence's a couple of times when Jax was too busy, but I'm given t'understand that Asian hair can be a whole dif'rent set of challenges. Willin' t'try if y'don't mind bein' a first go. Could /potentially/ end up lookin' more ridiculous."

<< They'll go back, >> Hive assures Micah. << This time, anyway. I don't think anyone at school /did/ anything really horrible this time so much as they're just -- way too overwhelmed to handle things. Can't say I really blame them. Jegus. How the fuck do you even start to handle all this shit? They're so fucking -- /small/. >> His eyes drift towards the bedroom door, and he leans back against the counter with his mug of coffee. "Sure, we'll try it. My hair always looks like a dumbass mess /anyway/. If you fuck it up too bad all it means is I actually have to brave the rain to go to a barber shop. Might as well /try/ to avoid that. Asian hair is --" He considers. "Thick."

<< I know...I mean, I hope so. It's just so hard. Even /Spence's/ been punchin' people. An' he's just so /sweet/. None of us are gettin' t'act like /ourselves/ anymore. I just...want everybody t'be able t'be themselves again. Without all this fear an' hidin' an'...fightin' an' deception an' hurtin' people intentionally or otherwise. >> Micah moves to wrap up the remnants on Hive's plate in case he wants them later, then brings the dishes to the sink for washing. "Yeah," he agrees with Hive's assessment of his hair with an amused grin. "S'fun t'play with. Okay, lemme finish cleanin' up here an' then we'll take over the bathroom t'see if I can avoid makin' y'funny-lookin'."

"/Pfft/." Hive answers this last with a /snort/. "Twenty-four gorram years to late on /that/ one, dude."